I am just so pleased to report that this was one of those weeks that we really dug down into the heart of what we do at ART YARD BKLYN. Exploring and making art is of our essence and that work is grown upon a solid base of community building with deep respect and support for the eclectic individuals who come together to make up our posse.
In ART YARD Advanced Studio on Monday Teaching Artist Eden Moore’s lesson, The Little Things gave participants that rare opportunity to mention something (in one word) that they love about themselves (we heard ‘feet’, ‘kind’, ‘productive’, ‘laugh’, ‘tenacity’ and ‘survivor’, amongst others). All were quick to offer this information. However when asked to do the same about their younger selves, many hemmed and hawed a bit before deciding on the best answer.
The works of Dutch graphic designer and photographer Ard Gelinick, wherein he creates portraits of celebrities with their younger selves, showing development and growth and some with little change at all, were shown in Eden’s presentation. Additionally, the video by Eugene Lee Yang was shown - which follows Yang through different states as he discovers, fights for, and celebrates his sexuality.
Portraits by Ard Gelinick:
Eden asked participants to create their portraits showing how they have changed - with the backgrounds representative of what they love about themselves.
Kevin shares his feelings about his work for this session: “I like the cartoony feeling of my piece, which definitely exaggerates the stylistic choices of my past and current self. My past self I would say was more of a rule follower, expected to wear certain clothing for example (mostly chosen by my mom). My glasses also had string attached to them for a period, so that I would not lose them. I feel that my current self is more laid back. Sometimes I wear ripped jeans and my hoodie may get dirty from time to time, but it genuinely does not bother me. Ultimately, I wanted to create a piece that does not look down on my past self but rather looks at him with a smile, to show that it's okay to recollect. In fact, I would say that I have still kept some of the aspects of my younger self. As the saying goes "the more things change the more they stay the same".”
Quentin writes: “Eden’s lesson was superb and powerful ! She articulated the message so clearly and it was so lovely in her intent to create the thought about your most authentic self. Accepting and thinking about the things that you love most about yourself. Eden’s lesson was so well executed and done with precision. The video that was shown captured the true essence of what it meant to love yourself while being true to yourself.”
Marilyn reflects upon the session: “Eden presented a wonderful and revealing lesson. I loved that she opened the conversation by starting with a question of what we love about ourselves. Eden encouraged us to present views of ourselves in our work that might not have been previously seen in class. I always learn something new about my classmates, which continues to enrich the experience of the lessons.”
On Wednesday we celebrated the opening of ART YARD Art Matters at PS 282 student exhibition.
We began with a sort of Members Preview (think those swank cocktail parties at the Whitney for the IN crowd!) for our kindergarten and first grade classes. These fantastic young artists and their teachers helped us to work out the technical details of sharing the video and virtual exhibition presentations on Zoom. The students also had the opportunity to create drawings about the exhibition. We noticed that in addition to the deep pride in their own accomplishments, everyone was enthusiastic about the work done by other students throughout the year.
Exhibition artwork by Ms. Lescure's kindergarteners:
Our public opening took place in the afternoon. ART YARD Art Matters at PS 282 virtual programming. In attendance were students, siblings, parents, grandparents, teachers, teaching artists, ART YARD Administration and an ART YARD board member. Oh, and of course, my cats Rik and Lola!
Working with our usual tag-team approach Vera (in the Dominican Republic) and I (in Brooklyn) shared the responsibilities for sharing our screens and providing commentary.
You can view our Virtual Exhibition (created in artsteps) and navigate from project to project. We found the best method to be using the navigation play button at the middle on the bottom of the screen. Click on the wall you are viewing and you will get to hear about the work and view the list of artists. (note: there are still a few quirks in the exhibition and we will be updating soon.)
We felt our viewers might want to see a close up on individual pieces, and thus created this video of the works in the exhibition:
Suffice it to say, we loved working with the young artists, parents and teachers at PS 282. Our talented youngsters were focused, enthusiastic, articulate and filled with joy as we made art together this year.
We heard from many exhibition attendees about their experience at the event and with the program:
Kate Wellschlager writes: “Thank you and the rest of the ART YARD crew for a wonderful art program this spring. Miles had such a great time and learned so much! Miles’ grandmother was an art teacher for 40 years, and she loved seeing Miles’ creations each week and the recaps. ART YARD is such a robust and fun program. We hope that Art Yard and PS 282 stay in partnership for the upcoming school year because you are doing great work.”
Juliet’s dad Michael Liss compliments: “Thanks for such a great and meaningful program these past many weeks! We do hope very much that she will be able to continuing rocking ART YARD with you next year.”
Sophie Karp mother of Lucy shares: “Thank you sooo much!! I can tell how much effort, time, and care went into the exhibition, and it was wonderful. And thank you for giving Lucy such a fun and empowering experience this year. To be 4 years old and feel like a valued team member, and as you said, part of a supportive community, in a year that was so hard - well it is just beautiful! She felt so proud, as did we.”
First grade teacher Alaissa Valerio relays the message: “We want to thank you for such a wonderful experience. The kids enjoyed all the classes and the yesterday’s exhibit was super cool. You ladies are spectacular and I look forward to working with you both again.”
While she was not involved with the sessions during the collaboration, ART YARD Teaching Artist Iviva Olenick took time out of her day to attend the opening. Her assessment is very meaningful to me as she knows so well our aims as a program. Iviva writes about the video and virtual exhibition presentations: “They capture the feeling of ART YARD - I felt like I was in the classroom with you, and it was such a warm way to experience the semester. Congrats to you and Vera on a beautiful presentation. You brought a lot of heart and vitality to a virtual space.”
We send big thanks to everyone who attended our virtual opening!!
Teaching Artist Reg Lewis and I visited Salon on Kingston in Crown Heights where our in-person week of ART YARD Summer Session 2021 will take place. The space is welcoming, eclectic and boasts a working mirror ball! I think we have landed the perfect setting for our emergence from the virtual world.
Congratulations to ART YARD Artists Ardelia Lovelace and Ajani Russel who appeared on the cover of the arts section in Sunday’s New York Times!
From the article: “The filmmaker Crystal Moselle’s roots are in documentary — she directed the 2015 Sundance sensation “The Wolfpack” — and that ear for the rhythms and routines of real life are apparent in this hybrid feature, in which a group of female New York City skateboarders play fictionalized versions of themselves… The details are contemporary (and keenly observed), but “Skate Kitchen” is a good old-fashioned coming-of-age story, in which norms are challenged, lessons are learned and young people must decide which version of their possible selves they want to be.”
Exhibitions to see:
On view in the main gallery at FiveMyles 558 St. John’s Place, Brooklyn until July 4, 2021 is Waters Meet / Sangam. An exhibition which features the work of ART YARD Parent Mildred Beltré, along with Leslie Jean-Bart, Tara Sabharwal, Mary Ting, artists who largely live with two cultures: the one inherited through the family and the culture they live in. Organized by Tara Sabharwal, the exhibition explores themes of migration and displacement.
ART YARD Teaching Artist Marie Roberts is a “headliner” artist in The Art of Coney Island: A juried exhibition exploring the spirit of Coney Island. The exhibition which includes art in various media by 100 artists (including Teaching Artist Candy Heiland ART YARD Artist Maraya Lopez and me!) opens Saturday, July 10 — 1 to 6 pm, On the second floor and is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday through August 15, 2021 — 1 to 6 pm at BWAC, 481 Van Brunt St., Door 7, Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Keep it cool!